i have 18 hens and no rooster, mainly because i also have several young children and i didnt want to take the chance of having a nasty rooster chasing them around! i have been thinking about adding a rooster that has already shown his calm personality. i do like the idea of raising one to be used to our surroundings here, as we raised half of the hens we have from day-old chicks, but then i am gambling on his personality... so, my concerns/questions are that i know of a 3 yr old rooster i can probably get - does a rooster effectively mate for life? is it healthier for the hens just to have him around? aside from the protection thing (as they are secured at night and all) and beyond aesthetics and atmosphere, is there some sort of hormonal balance that is biologically better when a rooster lives among the flock? can someone please enlighten me?